October 24, 2001
9:36 AM   Subscribe

With the FBI advising how to handle suspicious mail [pdf], the fine people who send you junk snail mail are changing their methods. The Canadian and American Direct Marketing Associations are recommending that their members ''consider notifying consumers by phone or e-mail that a direct-mail piece is on its way so they are not alarmed when it arrives." One cancelled campaign involved mailing marbles to some prospective clients.
posted by tranquileye (2 comments total)
The CMA and the U.S. Direct Marketing Association have both issued guidelines aimed at calming consumer fears. They advise members to:

Include the CMA or DMA logo on the envelope;

Avoid plain envelopes, which marketers sometimes use to generate curiosity about the contents of a letter. All envelopes should have a clear return address and other information such as the company's logo, a toll-free number and Web-site address.

Were I a smart and devious criminal wishing to distribute scary horrible things through the mail, these guidelines would be instructions for how my next strike should look.

I still believe the Anthrax mail is domesic in origin and motivation.
posted by joemaller at 10:04 AM on October 24, 2001

Let them call! If the DMA calls me I can legally make them remove my name, address and phone number from their lists. If I only get things in the mail, I have to write to the DMA to have it removed. I hate taking the time to write snail mail letter, but I have no problem telling telemarketers what they can do with their call lists.

And as for whether this is simply giving people ideas, one doesn't have to be smart to think up different ways to send things thru the mail. Disguise it as an Ed McMahon contest. Disguise it as a check from the IRS. Or even disguise it as a letter from the CDC telling people how to avoid anthrax exposure. This isn't rocket science folks. And the TV media is giving people new ideas daily as they continue to speculate rather than report the news.
posted by terrapin at 10:24 AM on October 24, 2001

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